Author Archives: Jamie

More than 20 buildings to be purchased, rehabbed to revitalize downtown Martinsville

What wonderful news for our community! Thank you to Doug & Paula Molin and Craig & Mary Fenneman, Artesian Group LLC, for caring so deeply about Martinsville and our downtown. Stay tuned for updates as the heart of our city is transformed.

Martinsville, Ind. – July 21, 2017 – With an anticipated investment of more than $4 million in the purchase of two downtown buildings and an additional 18-plus to be purchased in the next few weeks, Artesian Group LLC led by Craig Fenneman and Doug Molin is leading the charge in Martinsville’s downtown revitalization.

According to Fenneman, the purchase and rehabilitation of the structures in Martinsville’s downtown square were propelled by the shared vision between his team and Mayor Shannon Kohl’s administration.

“We have been working together with Mayor Kohl and other members of her administration for several months on plans to take on the necessary revitalization of several downtown buildings – many of them historical structures – to help attract new businesses to our community. Her vision is key to our investment.

“The Mayor’s ideas and goals for a revitalized downtown as outlined in her administration’s 100-Day and now 200-Day plans were right in line with our long-term goals for Martinsville,” Fenneman said. “We would not be doing these rehabilitation projects if it were not for Mayor Kohl’s and the City Council’s vision of an improved downtown and their support of and assistance for our efforts.”

Fenneman, his wife Mary and Molin and his wife Paula are overseeing work that started on buildings purchased at 10 East Morgan Street and 18 East Morgan Street.

“Currently, we are cleaning out the structures with plans to connect the buildings. We have a tenant in the works for the space. Many of the buildings we purchase will be multi-phased because they will need to be cleaned out before rehabilitation work can proceed.

“Our plans call for retailers to be housed on the first floor of two-story structures with the upstairs rehabbed into quality apartments, with ultimately 25-30 downtown apartments available for rent.

“One of our primary goals is to help create a critical mass of three to four new restaurants to complement the great variety of existing eateries already downtown. We are thinking of some combination of an Italian restaurant, a brew pub and perhaps something like a BBQ location, but we’ll have to see how that all plays out.

“As the Kohl administration is working hard to do, our ultimate goal is to make Martinsville a destination for folks to visit, spend money and realize this community is a great place to live and work. The purchase and rehabilitation of buildings downtown is how we can contribute to that success,” Fenneman said. “We started our concept as a private-public partnership. It’s been inspiring to us to see so many people excited about our plans and progress.”

Fenneman credits the Martinsville Chamber of Commerce and the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation for their support along with many downtown businesses who have been helpful and welcoming in the revitalization efforts.

What do you want Martinsville to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Tell us…

Last week, Launch Martinsville hosted a public meeting for folks to share their thoughts about what they want Martinsville to look like in the future.  HWC Engineering presented a brief overview of the comprehensive plan process and then guided us through the stations where we gave feedback on what we are proud of Martinsville for, what opportunities we see for the future and what changes we would like to see. Martinsville, we are at a crucial tipping point right now, and Mayor Shannon E. Kohl and the city administration are asking YOU what you want our future to look like. Please take advantage of this oppportunity to help shape our future! Take a few minutes to take this brief survey:

Introducing Artie Firsts and News! #Artiefirst

We are so proud of our students, teachers, parents and administrators! Please see a few of the new exciting opportunities for our school community during the 2017-2018 academic year!

-We are the first school in the state of Indiana to start a Spanish Immersion School using only grant funds. This year, Poston Road Elementary School has more students participating in the program, so we now will have 2 teachers instead of one ready for the school year.

-For our one-to-one computer initiative, we now have I-Pads for all Kindergarten and first graders. For students in grades 2nd through 12th, we’ll offer Google Chromebooks for studying. All free of charge.

-Our talented guidance counselors have been rated with Gold Star Status for their exceptional work. We’ve also hired our first elementary school counselor.

-We’ve expanded our Breakfast in the Classroom program to include 5 of our elementary schools. The program allows students to receive breakfast each morning in their classroom. Breakfast is either complimentary or can be purchased at a reduced rate. Please note that all 7 elementary schools offer breakfast. The Breakfast in the Classroom program offers less food options but students can eat in their classrooms. The benefits include students being fed and a chance to spend time with their teacher. For example, at Smith Fine Arts Academy, Principal Stout engages students by reviewing their Math Facts curriculum while they eat.

-Our wonderful food service staff will be returning to school this year in style! The team will be easily recognizable in their blue Polo shirts sporting the Artesian red M.

News from MSD of Martinsville: Welcome Mr. Ogden!

The students and parents of the MSD of Martinsville are our highest priority. The Board of School Trustees and Dr. Michele Moore have attempted to be as transparent and open as possible to our valued community concerning the decision to place Mrs. Lipps on paid administrative leave. Mrs. Lipps’ employment contract with the Board includes certain statutory and constitutional due process rights. As with any staff member, the Board has not and cannot comment on Mrs. Lipps’ employment contract to ensure the integrity of Mrs. Lipps’ rights and privacy.

In April, the Board of School Trustees placed Mrs. Lipps on paid administrative leave pending an internal and legal review into facts as they relate to her performance as an administrator for the MSD of Martinsville. Mrs. Lipps will have a new role as director of the newly expanded Hammons Alternative Program.

Please be assured that the students and parents of the MSD of Martinsville have been and will continue to be the highest priority of Dr. Michele Moore and the Board of School Trustees.

For the start of the 2017-2018 academic school year and per Board approval, we welcome Jeremy Ogden as principal of Bell Intermediate Academy. Mr. Ogden was the unanimous, first choice by the hiring committee that included Trustees, Dr. Michele Moore and Bell Intermediate Academy colleagues. Mr. Ogden received his Master of Arts in Education from Ball State University in 2016 and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from IUPUI at Indianapolis in 2007. He comes to us from Brownsburg East Middle School where he was an administrator who focused on collaboration and student achievement. We look forward to his enthusiasm and partnership.

-Board of School Trustees

Movies at The Main Summer Series continues; Night at the Museum next up – July 21st

Launch Martinsville has partnered with The Recreation Experience​ to bring family-friendly, fun movies to the lawn of The Main Connection this summer. Thank you to our Title Sponsor, Walterson Roofing​, for presenting the first of our summer series, The Sandlot. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs and join us this Friday, June 9th (rain date: June 10th) at 460 S. Main St. The movie will be shown at dusk.

Kona Ice of Bloomington and Davis Concessions will be on site to provide concessions.

Mark your calendars for Friday evening, June 23rd for Princess Bride, sponsored by Visit Morgan County, Indiana. The third and final movie in the Movies at the Main summer series, sponsored by Walterson Group and Painter Pro, will be Night at the Museum on Friday, July 21st.

 Thank you to our Title Sponsor:


Link Observatory Space Science Institute to Host Solar Eclipse Event on August 13 at the Central Library

Morgan County, IN – With the Great American Eclipse taking place this summer on Monday, August 21, the Link Observatory Space Science Institute is gearing up to host another unique program on August 13 to help Central Indiana learn about and enjoy this historic event.

On August 21, the earth, sun, and moon will experience a total solar eclipse that will last more than 90 minutes, coast to coast. The celestial bodies will line up to block the sun from view, an event scientists and historians are calling The Great American Eclipse. It will be the most viewed astronomical event of the century.

“Here’s why this is so exciting,” said Kurt Williams, the Institute’s Deputy Director. “This total eclipse of the sun is the first since 1776 whose path of totality — the narrow corridor where observers will be in the moon’s shadow as it covers the sun — lies completely within the continental United States and no other country.”

“The most beautiful object in the sky – the sun’s corona – which is invisible most of the time, will be revealed for a precious two minutes.” Williams continued. “It’s incredible, and this is your chance to see it.”

The Institute will host a special multimedia event on Sunday, August 13 utilizing the latest in digital animations to discuss the science of the sun, the orbital dynamics involved in solar eclipses, and details of the upcoming Great American Eclipse. The program will take place at 2:00 p.m. in the Indianapolis Central Library at One Library Square, 40 E. St. Clair Street, Indianapolis. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Anyone interested in attending should visit the library’s web site at and click on “Central Library” for more information.

The library programs are free because of generous support from local businesses and individuals. To continue these and other programs presented by the Link Observatory Space Science Institute, please visit


The mission of the Link Observatory Space Science Institute is to advance scholastic literacy of future generations with informal STEM education focused on NASA missions, astronomy, and space exploration; to foster scientific curiosity and advance science literacy to cultivate and nurture the next generation of leaders. Its vision is to share the wonders of the universe in ways that excite, inspire, challenge, and educate.


Link Observatory Space Science Institute to Host Asteroid Presentation at Mooresville Public Library

Morgan County, IN – With International Asteroid Day coming up June 30th, the Link Observatory Space Science Institute is hosting a presentation on Saturday, June 24th at 8:00 p.m. at the Mooresville Public Library. The Institute will share the fascinating story of the threat we may someday face and how we are developing new technologies to defend Planet Earth.

“Asteroids the size of Mount Everest have impacted our planet in the past and Planet Earth could be a target once again,” said Kurt Williams, the Institute’s Deputy Director. “So how do we detect and minimize the threat these asteroids present?”

On February 15, 2013, a giant meteor measuring 65 feet in diameter with a mass of nearly 10,000 tons entered Earth’s atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia at speeds over 41,000 mph. The light from the meteor was brighter than the Sun, and was observed over a wide area of the region and in neighboring republics. Some eyewitnesses also felt intense heat from the fireball.

It exploded at an altitude of 14 miles with a force equal to 30 Hiroshima nuclear bombs and caused a series of shock waves that shattered windows, damaged approximately 7,200 buildings, and left 1,500 people injured. The resulting fragments were scattered over a 100-mile wide area. Fortunately, it exploded in the atmosphere prior to impacting the surface.

“Just look at the mile-wide Meteor Crater in Arizona and you will understand that the direct impact of even a relatively small asteroid can cause great devastation,” said Williams.

During this free presentation, audience members will discover:

  • Where asteroids come from and how they are detected
  • Fascinating facts on the history of large impacts on Earth
  • New technologies being developed to protect the planet

They will also learn about Indiana University’s Asteroid Program that took place at the Link Observatory from 1949 – 1967. During that time, over 90% of all asteroids discovered worldwide were found at the observatory in Martinsville, IN.

This free program will take place in the Mooresville Public Library Community Room at 220 W Harrison St, in Mooresville, IN. Night sky observation, weather permitting, will be available via shuttle to the historic Link Observatory after the presentation.

The library programs are free because of generous support from local businesses and individuals. To continue these and other programs presented by the Link Observatory Space Science Institute, please visit


The mission of the Link Observatory Space Science Institute is to advance scholastic literacy of future generations with informal STEM education focused on NASA missions, astronomy, and space exploration; to foster scientific curiosity and advance science literacy to cultivate and nurture the next generation of leaders. Its vision is to share the wonders of the universe in ways that excite, inspire, challenge, and educate.